St Joan of Now Act 1

St. Joan of Now

Act 1

5 Acts:- Prison, Office, Train, Rouen market square , Murder

St Joan

Gilles de Rais

A Newsperson

Three Prophets

Chorus of Men and Women


Forward to Act One


This is a cubist play. The action is seen from more than one point of view. As a consequence time  in the play is fluid and discontinuous.

The almost simultaneous advent of cubism and quantum theory destroyed the foundations of the modern world. The impact was so profound that now, after a century,  the effects are only just starting to become apparent.

Gilles, Baron de Rais (1404–1440) , was a Breton knight, Marshal of France, and a companion-in-arms of Joan the Maid.  He had the honour of carrying the Oriflamme (the Battle Standard of France) at the coronation of the King in Rheims. In common with Joan and probably  a consequence of his  vast wealth, which vanished, he was murdered by the French Crown after a show trial. Farfetched black propaganda surrounding his end is still current in the legend of Blue Beard.
His story is similar to the extirpation of the Knights Templar by the French Crown (1312) and the dissolution of the Church by the English Crown (1540).

“Put not your trust in princes…” Psalm 146


Act l. Prison

Two uniformed men and  a  Newsperson with a microphone drag Gilles along the corridor of a shattered office block.


Newsperson         We’re giving you the chance to have your say…

To get it off  your chest.


Gilles                    Get what

Off my chest?

Newsperson     Your dirty little secret,

Gilles                   Secret?

Newsperson       How about…

How about

Serial child killer?         

Gilles                  That must be one of the world’s worst kept secrets!

Newsperson     Or best known lies.

Gilles                  Eh?

Newsperson      Suppose you hadn’t done it?

Gilles                  Oh come on,

Pull yourself together.

Newsperson     No seriously.

What about:-

“Earl Framed!!”


“Cover-up At Top!”

I can see it!

Gilles                 Steady now,

Don’t get carried away.

Newsperson   Yea, suppose your right,

Gotta tell it like it was…

Still though…

 Gilles                So it goes…

 Newsperson    …Oi! You don’t care.

Gilles                  Well you know

All this happened half a thousand years ago.

Newsperson    Nothing so deep buried

We can’t dig it from the snow.

 Gilles                Nothing too low.

Newsperson             Yea.


There you go

Making people look small.

                                       Look what we’d like

Lord murderer,

What we’d like,

Is your side of the story.

You know

Cannibal Earl Tells All

Something catchy, but tasteful.

Gilles                      My side of the story?

Newsperson        We’re giving you the chance to have your say.

Gilles                    Frightfully kind an’ all that.

Newsperson         You’re saying you did it?

Gilles                     No.

Newsperson       You’re saying you didn’t do it.

Gilles                   What?

Newsperson      What, what?

Gilles                   What am I saying I didn’t do?

 Newsperson         You know,

The Bluebeard stuff

Face all smeared with gore.

Infanticide, uxouicide.

Your time inside.

The names of parties now no more,

The date and places where they died.

The last pathetic  words they sighed

The evil details you can’t hide.

You know… the score.

Giles                  There is no story.

 Newsperson    There’s always a story.

 Gilles                 Really?

 Newsperson    ‘Course.

First there’s a story

And then there’s the telling.               

Gilles                 Its the telling that matters

Not the story.

Newsperson    Fast, aren’t we.

Gilles                 Do you know this play?

Newsperson    I’m not daf

Gilles                    But, it’s the telling that matters?

Newsperso         Of course.

Were getting there!

Now spill the beans.

Gilles                  Oh that.

Well I have not been up to scratch .

I’ve been under the weather,

Under the doctor,

Under the cosh,

Under cover,

Under any part of the rainbow except where the treasures buried.

How easy it is to confess

Newsperson   Y’ what?

You know that you’re the prisoner

Of the people.

Gilles                  Nice people.

Newsperson      No racks,

No whips,

Electric shocks or force fed paraffin.

Simply symbol working tools,

Input-output kit,

You don’t need to be afraid of it.

Gilles                Just falling dominoes

In a cascade,

Where fear replaces gravity

And the beginning of the collapsing line

Is so far from the end

That cause

And effect

Go separate ways.

I’ve every reason to be afraid.

Newsperson   Guest of the guardians of the state:

Prisoner of the sole of the state.

You got it  made.

Gilles          The sole may be battered, fried and eaten with lemon

Perhaps asparagus…

Boots have soles…

But the state…

The State,

Has no soul.

The State has nightmares,

Bad breath,

And short sight,

The state is human in many respects…

But no soul.

Newsperson         They’re gonna get you.

Gilles                    Exactly.

Newsperson      You’re pathetic.

Just whose side are you on?

Gilles                  Side of what?

Newsperson     Side of beef.

They are going to burn you.

Show trial,

Public execution,

And eternal obloquy.

Gilles               Can’t win them all.

Newsperson     But you can win too many.

Gilles                 Yes, there is that…

I really didn’t do much.

Newsperson    France’s richest subject,

Military master-mind,

The King only owes you his crown.

Didn’t do much at all?

Gilles             No.  It was all very ordinary.

Newsperson  Ordinary.


You’re a sump of depravity,

A well of evil.

That’s ordinary?

Gilles               That’s ordinary.

Newsperson    Bluebeard,

Bloody beard,

Mouth full of clotted children’s blood.


Gilles               I never lifted a finger,

I left her to burn.

Newsperson   Only decent thing you did in your entire life…

You’ve got a reputation

You’re the pits.

You did in 200 kids.

Gilles           I have killed since I was a lad:

I am a soldier, killing is my trade.

But I have never killed except in war

And never did murder

Nor deliberate harm against the young.

Newsperson   She’d didn’t add up to much.

Gilles                    Really?

Newsperson      Teenage troublemaker.

Gilles                   For what it’s worth

She is the spirit of the first modern state.

Everyone who thinks

They are a member of a nation

Is a figment of her imagination.


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